IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Flood warning
ALDEN BLACKMAN does not possess any special powers that allow him to see into the future, but today he can say “I told you so”.
Since 2003 the Clarke’s Road, Derricks, St James resident has been craving the attention of the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW) and the Drainage Division, having warned them that a blocked watercourse in his area could lead to severe flood problems.
Over the years flooding has occurred, but not to the extent of what happened on November 29 when torrential rainfall sent raging waters through the district.
Instead of travelling through the watercourse, the water was diverted onto the road, trapping residents inside their homes, threatening the stability of houses and leaving some damage behind.
Alden Blackman who has lived at Clarkes Road for over 30 years predicted that the tampering of the water course would be disastrous for his neighbourhood.
Blackman said that any similar rainfall in the future could be catastrophic for residents.
Today he feels like a lone voice crying in the wilderness.
Thirteen years ago Blackman objected when a wealthy “foreign” woman built a mansion next to the watercourse and paved a section of it, claiming it was her private road.
Blackman, who has lived at Clarke’s Road for more than 32 years, complained vehemently to the authorities about the danger of interference with the watercourse running behind his property.
He felt ignored and publicly ventilated his annoyance in this newspaper on three previous occasions.
While the Drainage Division admitted that the situation could lead to flooding, MTW only removed the concrete obstructions which the neighbour had erected, but they did not restore the course to its original form.
Blackman is of the view that the Barbados Water Authority compounded the problem by installing pipelines into the watercourse.
Since the excess rainfall of November 29, the course has been blocked further by several concrete boulders which were pushed into it by strong currents.
Angered by the situation, Blackman sent off a letter on December 16 to the MTW’s chief technical officer Frank Thornhill. It read in part: “After witnessing the results of the flooding that occurred on 29 November 2016 at my home and environs at Clarke’s Road, Derricks, St James, I am issuing another plea to respond urgently to the dangerous situation caused by an obstructed watercourse at Clarke’s Road.”
Lotera Lovell showing one of her husband’s power tools which was damaged when his two workshops were flooded on November 29.
Lotera Lovell, another resident, is still trying to count her husband’s losses after his two workshops were flooded.
“We had tools in there that get damaged,” she said. “Right now the power saw not working. We had doors for customers that were submerged in water. The other workshop is still wet so he can’t use it.”
Contact was made with both the Drainage Division and the MTW but up to press time no responses were forthcoming.